All the summer flowers are starting to put in an appearance and if we’re lucky, June will be ‘flaming’. The weather is improving, so we can finally plant out tender plants if we didn’t at the end of May. There’s lots to keep on top of as perennials and shrubs start to cover the ground and hopefully smother the weeds. Make time to sit down and enjoy the view.
The spectacular shrub rose ‘Charles de Mills’ bears rosettes of deep crimson-magenta deliciously fragrant flowers in June and July. Growing to 1.5m x 1m, as with all roses it needs rich, fertile soil in full sun.
Hosta ‘Gold Standard’ has gold leaves with a dark green edge and, although it does bear lavender-blue flowers, the leaves are the main attraction. Hostas need moist soil and are best grown in light shade but sun is fine for all but the gold varieties. They are good for ground cover and good in pots, where they can be more easily protected from slugs.
Bearded Irises have a short but fabulous season. Dwarf, intermediate and tall varieties are available, with the dwarf varieties flowering a little earlier in May. ‘Black Swan’ is a tall variety that bears deep purple, almost black, flowers above sword-shaped grey-green leaves. Plant in large swathes for maximum impact. For a dramatic effect, partner with silver foliage plants such as the pale silvery leaves of Artemisia. Needs sunny well-drained soil where the rhizomes are not overshadowed by surrounding plants.
Spring is finally on its way and March is the perfect time to plant shrubs, roses and climbers, both pot-grown and bare-rooted.
The Magnolia Stellata is one of the smallest Magnolias, growing slowly to the size of a shrub and needing no special conditions, so is suitable for most gardens. It puts on a fantastic show of large, white or pink lightly-scented flowers in early spring before its leaves open.
Other old faithfuls flowering at this time of year are Forsythias with their abundance of spiky yellow flowers, and Camellias, spectacular evergreens with glossy foliage with blooms in every shade of pink, red and white. Once it has finished flowering the attractive glossy foliage is a useful background to other plants that flower later on in the season. If you don’t yet have some of these versatile and low-maintenance shrubs in your garden you might want to plant them.
Thinking ahead to what we’ll be enjoying in early summer, do you have room for another English Rose? We recommend Darcey Bussell – a shrub rose bred by David Austin – compact bushy growth with deep crimson rosettes which flower freely, repeats well and, most importantly, has a delightful fragrance.
And for a reliable climber, there are many varieties of Clematis that will keep going right through summer into early autumn. One of our favourites is Sieboldiana – gorgeous single white flowers which are offset by deep purple stamens. The flowers appear in late spring or summer amongst the semi-evergreen foliage. It grows to about 2.5m so is excellent for a container or to weave up and through a wall shrub.